Get a long LOW life it's duty bound...
Originally released by RCA on January 14th 1977, David Bowie's 'Low' album is twenty five today. It's not easy to convey from this remove, quite the impact that 'Low' had on the likes of a sixteen-year-old fan such as myself. While albums like 'Ziggy Stardust', 'Aladdin Sane' and 'Diamond Dogs' are considered in part to be "futuristic" in their content, 'Low' really did sound like it had time-travelled back to 1977 from some unimaginable point in the distant future.
Although many fans seemed shock by the format, particularly side two, (Side one had seven short tracks, two of which were instrumentals, and side two was made up of four longer instrumental pieces) for me the song side was more astonishing. Even taking in to account the recordings that influenced the album, 'Low' sounded like nothing else I had ever heard, especially the sound of the songs on side one.
'Low' was the first part of the inaccurately labelled "Berlin Trilogy", and despite protests from both David and Brian, it is often referred to as a Bowie/Eno production, even though it was actually produced by David and Tony Visconti. Visconti's contribution can not be overstated...that drum sound alone was enough to set the record apart from everything else around at the time.
I won't bore you with my own track-by-track appreciation of 'Low', suffice to say that it is still a very regular selection in my house, and remains in my top ten albums of all time. (Right now I'm listening to the final track, 'Subterraneans', which still has the power to move me to tears, and will hopefully be played at my very own funeral some day...Dammit, I need people to cry when I go!)
Anyway, don't take my word for how good this recording is, not that there can be anybody reading this that doesn't already know it. Occasional BowieNet contributer, Calum Bennie, aka dukebox, has posted his own thoughts on 'Low' and the first published